Friday, October 30, 2009

Genesis 3-4

See my previous post here for notes about interpretation and my process thus far.

Chapter 3:

Interesting to note here that, according to Chapter 2, God didn't tell the woman directly about the ban. He told the man, put him to work, then created the woman. The man must have told the woman about it.

2-3 The Woman said to the serpent, "Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It's only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, 'Don't eat from it; don't even touch it or you'll die.'"

She trusts Man implicitly.

4-5 The serpent told the Woman, "You won't die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you'll see what's really going on. You'll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil."

Not only is the serpent questioning God's validity, but he's also questioning the man's. He is trying to prey on a woman's natural desire for knowledge. Apparently women are always on the lookout for more information. Hey wait, that's what I'm doing. Well, this is still pre-sin, so it must be ok to look for more information, as long as we don't go too far.

6 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she'd know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.

So, she at the fruit. She gave it to the man. He apparently followed her lead because he doesn't seem to question her about it. Did he even know what he was eating? Was the fruit of this specific tree so different from all the others that he would be able to tell by looking at it what he was about to do. She obviously wanted him to be all-knowing too.

7 Immediately the two of them did "see what's really going on"—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.

Suddenly, after they disobeyed they were filled with shame. They didn't want to look at each other anymore so they covered up hoping it would make everything better. They were embarrassed.

So far, there has been no indication of a leader. God hasn't technically appointed anyone. The woman is still equal in the eyes of the man. The only indication of any sort of leadership is the fact that the man recognizes that he was created first. It certainly doesn't keep him from following his companions lead as he eats the fruit along with her. They both worked together to make the clothes.

8 When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God.

9 God called to the Man: "Where are you?"

When God asks a question He is not seeking information. He's simply giving the man an opportunity to own up.

I notice that He doesn't call the woman. Apparently there's a hint here to how God sees his creations in light of their sex. He sees man as the first-born. Man seems to be the one God goes to first. I don't know if I would extrapolate this into a doctrine about men already being put in charge. Maybe it's my own blinders that keep me from seeing it. If there were a situation with my own children I would go to the oldest to find out what was going on. Male or female, it doesn't matter. It's just that the older kid is more likely to know what's happening.

10 He said, "I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid."

11 God said, "Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?"

12 The Man said, "The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it."

This definitely sounds like an excuse to me. It also sounds very child-like. Even though historically we've been told that Adam and Eve were formed as adults, this kind of thought process makes me wonder. I can see a kid telling his dad, "It was Eve's fault." He highlights the woman's companionship.

Man: "You made me a friend and I trusted her and I didn't see anything wrong with eating it since she's my best friend and my helper."

God said to the Woman, "What is this that you've done?"

Now God talks to the woman.

13 "The serpent seduced me," she said, "and I ate."

Woman: "That snake creature You made told me I could eat the fruit and I believed him. He made it seem like such a good idea."

I guess now that she can see the difference between good and evil she understands the nature of seduction. She realizes she was tricked by her own sin-less desires into doing something wrong. Now she can't trust her own judgement, let alone anyone else's.

14-15 God told the serpent:
"Because you've done this, you're cursed,
cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
and eat dirt all your life.
I'm declaring war between you and the Woman,
between your offspring and hers.
He'll wound your head,
you'll wound his heel."

God doesn't have any conversation with the snake. He didn't put the same God-like nature into the animals, so He doesn't see them as worthy of conversation. He just curses the snake without letting it explain. From now on, all generations of mankind will try to kill snakes.

Further study of the Bible will refer back to this as a prophecy about Jesus, but for now I'm reading it as if it were my first time, so I have to take it at face value.

16 He told the Woman:
"I'll multiply your pains in childbirth;
you'll give birth to your babies in pain.
You'll want to please your husband,
but he'll lord it over you."

Now he moves back to the woman. Interesting to note that He still doesn't seem to be making a point about anyone's authority. He tell woman about all the pain she's causing herself. You'll have to have a lot of pain when you have babies. You'll try to make your husband happy, but he won't appreciate it, and he'll use your desire to his own advantage.

This really seems to point to the question I had earlier about the nature of "helping" mankind. It would seem that our job as women is to help them in every way, but to expect that in their fallen, sinful state, men will try to take advantage of our help.

17-19 He told the Man:
"Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree
That I commanded you not to eat from,
'Don't eat from this tree,'
The very ground is cursed because of you;
getting food from the ground
Will be as painful as having babies is for your wife;
you'll be working in pain all your life long.
The ground will sprout thorns and weeds,
you'll get your food the hard way,
Planting and tilling and harvesting,
sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk,
Until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried;
you started out as dirt, you'll end up dirt."

God the man that He told him not to eat of the tree. He says that the man should have viewed God as the one in charge, not the woman. Here's where the battle of the sexes begins. Men and women were equals. They saw each other as equals and they knew that God was in charge. Woman decided to overrule God's authority and Man followed right along with it. Now man will have a day to day job that will be just as hard as a woman's. Instead of simple maintenance of the earth, Man now has to deal with rot and ruin.

20 The Man, known as Adam, named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living.

21 God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them.

Here's where we find out that these two have names. God named Adam, and Adam named Eve. The first death occured at this point. God killed one (or possibly two) of his animals to make long lasting clothes for His God-like creations. I guess He knew that they weren't going to want to look at each other's nakedness anymore.

22 God said, "The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!"

This verse seems to validate what the snake said. The snake wasn't lying. He was just trying to get Eve to see her own desires as more important than trust in her companion.

23-24 So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they'd been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel-cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree-of-Life.

He still hasn't officially put Adam in charge. He simply told them they can't have access to eternal life in this state. He hasn't told them here about the possibility of heaven. At least it isn't recorded in the Bible.

Chapter 4:

2 Then she had another baby, Abel.

Eve starts to live out her curse. She not only follows the ideal intent of her creator (re-produce), but has to deal with the consequences of her actions. She has children, but God helps her bring them into the world. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to have the first baby.

Now Cain and Abel have an argument, Cain kills Abel and is marked by God so that although he is cursed he cannot be murdered.

17-18 Cain slept with his wife. She conceived and had Enoch. He then built a city and named it after his son, Enoch.

Where could Cain have gotten his wife. Adam and Eve were the only ones alive to begin with. There must be more information not written verbatim in the Bible about Adam and Eve. I think Cain must have married one of his sisters.

So far the Bible seems to only be recording male children. Wives aren't given names thus far (except Eve). Only son's names are recorded. I don't have an answer for this yet.

19-22 Lamech married two wives, Adah and Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal, the ancestor of all who live in tents and herd cattle. His brother's name was Jubal, the ancestor of all who play the lyre and flute. Zillah gave birth to Tubal-Cain, who worked at the forge making bronze and iron tools. Tubal-Cain's sister was Naamah.

Here are three specific women recorded. The first mention of polygamy. I would have to draw some conclusions here. God made one man and one woman in the beginning. For His ideal creation He knew that men only need one helper/companion. Since the fall, though it seems that one of the ways men "Lord it over" their wives is by getting more than one. Why would a man need more than one wife. If her job is to be his helper/companion, then one should be enough. Maybe men were already growing tired of how hard their work was. Their line of thinking could have been, "If I have one woman who's willing to help me out and do stuff to please me, then two women will make my life a lot easier."

I still haven't seen a specific mention of God putting the husband in authority, so I would have to draw the conclusion that Men have told the woman that they are supposed to be in charge (Lording it over) and women must have capitulated (as Eve believed Adam about eating of the tree).

I don't understand why the sister is mentioned here. I'm completely stumped. It must be important, but I'm just drawing a blank.

23-24 Lamech said to his wives,
Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
you wives of Lamech, hear me out:
I killed a man for wounding me,
a young man who attacked me.
If Cain is avenged seven times,
for Lamech it's seventy-seven!

Ok, so Lamech decides to usurp God's authority and declare his own murderous act ok, since Cain (his great-great-great-grandfather) was absolved by God. God never steps in and condones this.

25-26 Adam slept with his wife again. She had a son whom she named Seth. She said, "God has given me another child in place of Abel whom Cain killed." And then Seth had a son whom he named Enosh.

So far, the only reference to sex is in the context of reproduction. Eve views Seth as a replacement of Abel.

That's when men and women began praying and worshiping in the name of God.

So I'm up to chapter 4 and I don't see where people get the idea that Adam was in charge from creation. I see men and women as equals, but I see a curse that women will want to please their husbands and men will abuse this desire.

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